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Peel History

Peel Timeline

Supreme Court of Canada Hears the Peel Watershed Case

Supreme Court of Canada Hears the Peel Watershed Case photo

2017 - On March 22, World Water Day, the highest court in Canada heard the case in Ottawa. Close to 50 people from across the Yukon and representing all affected First Nations were in attendance for the landmark hearing that will test the integrity of the Yukon's Final Agreements. Renowned lawyer, Thomas Berger, made compelling arguments that the Yukon Government should not be granted a do-over on a process in which it had every opportunity to participate fully and honestly. For reconciliation and for future land use planning, he argued, the process should be returned to the final stage of consultation, where the government would not be able to increase the amount of access and development in the Peel.

2017

Peel Timeline

Final Appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada

Final Appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada photo

2016 - In June 2016, the Supreme Court of Canada granted us leave to appeal our case, confirming that the Peel case is of national and public importance. A new Yukon government was elected in November 2016 with a pro-Peel platform, but the court case will still go ahead to achieve certainty for future Land Use Planning in the Yukon. We will continue to encourage Yukon Government to adopt the Final Recommended Plan and protect 80% of the Peel River Watershed – which would result in one of the largest protected areas in North America. The Supreme Court of Canada will hear the case on March 22, 2017.

2016

Peel Timeline

Yukon Government Appeals Yukon Supreme Court Ruling

Yukon Government Appeals Yukon Supreme Court Ruling photo

2015 - Yukon Government appealed the Yukon Supreme Court ruling. The appeal was heard August 2015, accompanied by a water ceremony, rally, and gathering. The Yukon Court of Appeal upheld much of the previous ruling, but allowed Yukon Government to modify the Commission’s Final Recommended Plan to allow for more access and industrial development. The First Nations and conservation groups appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada.

2015

Peel Timeline

Yukon Government’s Plan & Yukon Supreme Court Case

Yukon Government’s Plan & Yukon Supreme Court Case photo

2014 - In January 2014, Yukon Government released its own plan opening up more than 71% of the Peel to roads and industrial development. Peel First Nations and Yukon conservation groups took the government to court. Unprecedented numbers of people observed the case in the Yukon Supreme Court, with a silent vigil, ceremonial fire, prayer circle, and other events taking place outside the court. In December, the court ruled that Yukon Government had violated the Land Use Planning process. The ruling quashed Yukon Government’s plan for the Peel and sent the planning process back to the final round of consultation, without the option for Yukon Government to introduce new modifications that would increase access and industrial development in the watershed.

2014

Peel Timeline

Yukon Government Opposed by Public; Final Consultations Overwhelmingly Support Protection

Yukon Government Opposed by Public; Final Consultations Overwhelmingly Support Protection photo

2012-2013 - Yukon Government released new ‘principles’ for the Peel decision, which were vocally criticized by First Nations, ENGOs, the public, tourism and outfitting associations, among others. People filled the Legislature on opening and closing days to demand that the Peel and democracy be protected, and a youth protest briefly closed the Legislature. During final consultations, 94% of the 10,000+ submissions supported the Commission’s Final Recommended Plan, or complete protection for the Peel.

2012

Peel Timeline

Final Recommended Land Use Plan & Election

Final Recommended Land Use Plan & Election photo

2010-2011 - In July 2011, the Final Recommended Land Use Plan was released, calling for 55% permanent protection and 25% interim protection to be decided upon in future plan reviews, with 20% open to roads and industrial development. In fall 2011, the Peel Watershed was the top issue in the territorial election, garnering local media coverage, public support, and candidate debate. 

2010

Peel Timeline

First Plans Released

First Plans Released photo

The Draft Land Use Plan, released in early 2009, zoned half the watershed for industrial development; neither industry nor those who wanted protection were happy with this plan. The majority of Yukoners felt that the main priorities in the Peel should be the environment, wildlife, and wilderness protection. The Recommended Land Use Plan, released later in 2009, took a precautionary approach and protected 80% of the Peel from roads and industrial development, with a plan amendment needed to build roads in the remaining 20%.

2009

Peel Timeline

Land Use Planning Begins

Land Use Planning Begins photo

2004 - Land Use Planning began for the Peel Watershed. The Peel Watershed Planning Commission was tasked with developing a recommended plan for land use in the watershed in consultation with the public, stakeholders, and plan partners.

2004

Peel Timeline

Studies on the Peel and Three Rivers Journey

Studies on the Peel and Three Rivers Journey photo

1995-2003 - From the mid-1990s to mid-2000s, CPAWS Yukon undertook biological surveys of the Peel Watershed and released several publications. In 2003, CPAWS Yukon the Three Rivers Journey in the Peel Watershed, chronicled in an art show, book, and series of presentations across Canada.

1995

Peel Timeline

The Final Agreements

The Final Agreements photo

1990s - The Umbrella Final Agreement between Yukon First Nations, Yukon Government, and the Government of Canada was finalized in 1990 and signed in 1993. The Nacho Nyak Dun Final Agreement and Vuntut Gwitchin Final Agreement were signed in 1993, and the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in Final Agreement was signed in 1998.

1990

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CPAWS Yukon Chapter
P.O. Box 31095, 211 Main St., 
Whitehorse, Yukon, Y1A 5P7
(867) 393-8080

Yukon Conservation Society
302 Hawkins Street
Whitehorse, Yukon Y1A 1X6
(867) 668-5678